Slow and Spicy Wins the Race

I’ve become quite the fan of Paleo Pot. If you’ve not perused this gem of a paleo culinary resource, I highly suggest you check it out. Yesterday, I found some chicken that I’d been neglecting in the freezer. Poor chicken. And my gym bestie (Kayla, I devote this post to you) inspired me to finally do something fab with the fowl.

I knew my afternoon was booked. We had big plans which revolved around a controlled burn of the Christmas tree. It went up like a cannon and proved to be more fun, and resulted in more little girl squeals, than we’ve had in a long time. Story for another day.

 

ANYWAY, I figured I’d let the crockpot do the work, and cross my fingers that I had enough random accoutrements to do that lonely chicken its overdue justice. I started here with this great entry from Paleo Pot. But deviated… as I usually do… in all things… not just cooking. Again, story for another day.

 

I call my version Chipotle Coconut Chicken and Crispy Kale. You can call it whatever you like. Just eat it. With the exception of the 40-foot tree flame extravaganza, my kids said this was the best part of their day. And sitting around the supper table on a Monday evening, there’s little more a mom could ask for.

 

Chipotle Coconut Chicken and Crispy Kale – Paleo Style

 

What you’ll need:

Crockpot

1 onion, rough chopped

6-8 cloves garlic, smashed

2-3 lbs uncooked chicken breast, or dark meat, or whatever you have, cubed

1-2 cans coconut milk (the good stuff, not the wimpy “dairy” replacement)

3-5 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

1 mango, peeled and cubed

1 bunch fresh kale, cleaned, dried and rough chopped

Olive oil

Salt, Pepper, Creole Seasoning, or whatever you have on hand. 

 

What you’ll do:

 

Line the bottom of the crockpot with the chopped onions and smashed garlic cloves. Throw the cut-up chicken on top, and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Pour in coconut milk. (Depending on preference, feel free to use two cans. It only adds flavor, creaminess, amazing fats, deliciousness and super powers. Your call. I used two cans.) Add the chipotle peppers, pop on the lid, turn the crockpot to “low” and go set something on fire, or participate in something equally primal… like tracking down tomorrow’s breakfast… or taking a nap. Then, come back to check on the chicken in 5-6 hours. 

 

In the last 30 minutes of cooking, toss in the mango, and give the whole mess a quick stir. I’ve found that including the mango from the beginning renders this delicious fruit mushtastic and somewhat flavorless. Throwing it in near the end works best.

Image courtesy of Paleo Pot.

Image courtesy of Paleo Pot.

While your kids are setting the table, toss your kale in a shallow layer in a baking dish, sprinkle with olive oil and creole seasoning and place in a preheated 400-degree oven. Keep an eye on them, but in 8-10 minutes you will end up with some deliciously crispy kale chips. (I suppose this post actually requires a dual-dedication. My paleo bestie, Becky, introduced me to this prep method for kale. As a result, I’ve become somewhat of an addict for the crunchy critters. As have my kids… which, let’s be honest… is the real victory.)

 

Plate up the chicken, top with a healthy handful of crispity, crunchity super greens, gather your family and dig in. Creamy, slightly sweet, smoky and a bit spicy. And with the help of the crockpot, you hardly had to shake a tail feather. Clucky for you.

A New Perspective

It’s a new year. I think it’s still early enough on the calendar pages to claim that? At least, I hope so. Because, here at the cave, we need as much time as we can get to keep this gig going. This whole mom and pop shop sitch is a little bit of a roller coaster ride. And if we were to be completely transparent, we’d have to quickly admit we don’t exactly have any of this figured out. But, we’d also have to say, it sure is fun trying to get it straight.


And we present our next step of Cavecloth discovery. We are beyond excited to begin to tell the Cavecloth story better than ever – through amazing photography that captures the heart and soul of Fayetteville’s softest hand-printed threads. cave_look









Props to our talented, patient, and oh-so-kind-to-listen-to-our-ever-changing-and-rambling-vision photographer, Frederick Cochran. He’s got the goods. And we’ve got the great views. 


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There’s an exciting year ahead at the Cave. You won’t want to miss the journey. So stick with us on the insta and Facebook. We’ll keep it happy and snappy.

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Rock on, 2016. 

Take back lunch! It misses you.

When people ask me about paleo, one of the most popular questions I get is, “What do you do about lunch??” Which, honestly, often perplexes me, as I’m somewhat confused as to why lunch presents itself as such an enigma. It is, after all, just another meal time. Head to the trough for the feeding frenzy just as you would for breakfast and supper. I suppose that in this culture we’ve created for ourselves, one to which we are hell-bent on making our humanity accustomed, we have to force food into our insane schedules. We treat it as an unfortunate time-suck instead of a welcomed break – a time to “Stop the Insanity!!” as the always eloquent Susan Powter would say.

We’re cramming so much into our days that lunch has sadly become a much-resented 30-minute trip to the food court for three-hour-old fried lo mein and high-fructose gut bomb beverages. I realize changing the mentality of our culture is a stretch. I’m not above trying, but I’m grounded enough (I think) to grasp the reality that whatever drivel ends up in this teensy-tiny blog in a dark, distant, as of yet undiscovered corner of the galactic world wide web isn’t likely to be read, much less serve as a catalyst to change cultural norms. Perhaps someday…

So, if I can’t change the mentality of what the lunch hour has become, perhaps I can at least offer quick, satisfying alternatives to partially-hydrogenated poo on a plate. Lunch doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be simple and delicious and still see you back at your cubical utopia with time to spare. Take back, lunch. It misses you.

image_ad53af40-0986-426f-9f27-c9b50f653afe_largeTry this one next time you’re short on time. Paleo fish tacos with simple salsa and avocado. The salsa is more of a pico de gallo, so you call whatever you like. The takeaway here is that it’s easier than shooting fish in a barrel… I’d imagine.

 

Paleo Fish Tacos

 

What you’ll need:

For the fish:

1 to 2 6-ounce fish filets (I used tilapia for this particular recipe, but you could use any flaky white fish. Living in the south, catfish is plentiful. I’d imagine it’d work just fine as well.)

2 tbsp organic grass-fed butter or ghee

Garlic powder

Fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

 

For the Salsa:

1/4 red onion, chopped

1/2 to 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1/2 to 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined and minced

1 lime, zested and squeezed

2-3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Butter bibb lettuce

1/2 avocado, cubed

What you’ll do:

image_3150c606-b437-43ab-900f-4ad46481c2aa_largeMelt the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Season fish filets with lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic. Place seasoned-side down in the hot butter. While the fish cooks on the one side, sprinkle more lemon juice and seasonings on the top of the fish. Let the fish cook untouched for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the sides of the filets appear solid white. Flip the filets and continue to cook
until fish is firm and flaky. I like a little crisp on my fish, so I tend to cook at a high heat until it gets a little brown.

While waiting on your fish, put together the salsa in a medium mixing bowl. Rough chop the onion and tomatoes. Add in the jalapeno, cilantro and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, lime zest and juice, and mix well to combine.

Once the fish is done, flake with a fork, place generous helpings into two or three butter bibb lettuce leaves, top with salsa and chunks of avocado. Sprinkle with more lime juice as desired.image1_large

Island Stew with Pineapple, Too

In my life, I can think of no greater love affair in which I have engaged more willingly than with ham. Those that know me may offer stout rebuttal, and claim my affinity for bacon to be the clear winner in my food affairs. But, I think when the pork hits the plate, deep in the recesses of my gastroemotional being, I give my hand to ham.

So, naturally, I baked a ham for Christmas. At the time of this posting, that was over 15 days ago. And in that time, ham and I have grown quite distant. It was constantly hanging around, nagging me from the fridge, with all its talk of “What? Chicken? Tonight? Am I not good enough for you now? Tired of the old leftovers, are you? Looking for some younger, fresher meat to chew on?” After all, there’s only so much ham and eggs the kids could stand. But, I was determined to move on… to close the chapter on this swine drama. What better way to use up some leftover protein, and show it some love, than to put it in a savory stew and let it simmer to hog heaven?

And in so doing, I created my Paleo Island Stew with Sundried Tomatoes and Roasted Pineapple. With flavors reminiscent of the islands, this is a delicious, hearty bowl of ham and veggies in a robust tomato base, topped with roasted pineapple chunks and avocado.

A great start to any soup.

A great start to any soup.


What you’ll need:

4-5 strips bacon, rough chopped

2-3 carrots, diced

2 shallots, minced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, rough chopped

2 tbsp dried Italian or pizza seasoning (or oregano and basil)

1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)

2-3 cups chicken stock

about 2 cups leftover ham, chopped

28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

Fresh pineapple chunks

1 tbsp olive oil

Avocado

Salt and pepper to taste (Careful here. Pork is naturally salty. The bacon and ham should offer you more than enough salt for seasoning.)  

What you’ll do:

Render off chopped bacon in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, shallots, garlic and sundried tomatoes. Stir to coat in bacon fat. Add Italian seasoning, stirring veggies until just tender. Add white wine (if you have it, if not, it’s no skin off a pig’s back) and simmer, cooking off alcohol. Add your ham and two cups of the chicken stock. Stir in crushed tomatoes and bring it all to a bubble.

Cover and simmer on low. Meanwhile, heat up your oven’s broiler. Coat the pineapple chunks in olive oil and place on baking sheet. Broil until toasted and caramelization appears.

Roasted pineapple nom noms.

Roasted pineapple nom noms.



Serve stew over hot pineapple with avocado on top.
Top with fresh chopped cilantro or parsley, if you’ve got it.

Island Stew with Sundried Tomatoes and Roasted Pineapple. A delicious, hearty bowl of ham and veggies in a robust tomato base, topped with roasted pineapple chunks and avocado.

 










This really worked out nicely for everyone. The kids ate three bowls a piece, the ham got some love, and, mercifully, I got shed of my leftovers.

 

As for me and ham… we’re on a break.

Primarily Primal Whiskey Sour

I realize that whiskey is indeed far from paleo. Truth be told, all alcohol is. Sure, there are worse things… namely, beer. But, there are better things as well… namely, tequila. But, when the cave’s a’rockin’, the brown water comes a’knockin’. I happen to enjoy a quality sour mash in small quantities on rare occasions. And to shoot you straight, the past few weeks have handed us our fair share of obstacles. And considering we’ve so far hobbled over every hurdle in the race, I’m looking for my cookie at the finish line.

I present said cookie. 

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What you’ll need:

2 ounces quality whiskey

1/2 fresh-squeezed lime

1/2 fresh-squeezed lemon

Drizzle of agave nectar (optional)

Club soda

Ice

 

What you’ll do:

In a shaker with ice, add whiskey, lime and lemon juice, and agave nectar. Shake well. Strain over ice in a highball glass. Top with club soda. Garnish with lemon zest and a cherry.